The state of Western Australia has a remote population spread throughout an immense area. Remote health and retrieval is strained on a day-to-day basis, let alone in mass casualty incidents (MCIs). Anecdotally, remote medical staff has minimal training in MCI response. There is no research into how aware these staff is on principles of MCI response.
An online survey was devised to ascertain the awareness and knowledge of medical staff most likely to be involved in a disaster. Demographic as well as questions in scenario format were disseminated to rural general practitioners (GPs), nurses and paramedics. Data was collected over a 4-month period.
117 surveys were completed online. Analysis revealed an astute awareness of resources and environment in a potential MCI but triaging was poor and complex decision-making results were equivocal. Trained respondents handled scenarios better than experienced (MCI involvement or planning) respondents.
In general, remote medical staff is aware of only certain MCI principles. Further training is warranted. Voluntary feedback from these staff also strongly corroborated this view.